In 1981, “Fast Freddie” Spencer competed in the AMA Superbike Championship series for Honda aboard a modified Honda CB750F Super Sport finishing in 2nd place in the Championship behind Eddie Lawson on his Kawasaki. This article describes one man’s dream of building a replica of this bike.
This clip is from Daytona 1982 (Freddie, number 19, is approaching old turn number 5 from 1 minute 59 seconds into this recording):
Freddie’s 1982 bike currently resides in Honda’s Collection Hall in Japan.
Why build a Honda CB750F Super Sport “Freddie Spencer” replica?
Steve Smith of South Devon Classics was always a huge fan of the AMA Superbike Championships and this, along with his experience racing a “sit up and beg” Suzuki GS1000 at Club level in the early ’80s, was his inspiration when he decided to build a replica of one of those mighty machines.
From humble beginnings
Having hatched his plan, Steve set about buying a Honda CB750F Super Sport on which to base his replica. Steve found his donor bike, a 1982 model in pretty poor condition, and bought it but, not having the time to start the project immediately, he stored it until he could do the job justice.
As you might expect, Steve began by stripping the bike down to it’s component parts keeping only the frame, engine, seat, tank and side panels. Everything else was sold in order to raise funds for the project.
Steve’s original plan was to build a replica as near to original specification as possible. However, since the original bikes were “specials” built by renowned tuner Mike Velasco in 1980-82 to compete in the AMA Superbike Championship series and original Honda race parts are as rare as hen’s teeth, a rethink was required. After a great deal of research and head-scratching, Steve came up with a revised plan that would achieve the look albeit using some more modern components where dictated by necessity.
Engine & electrics
Steve completely stripped and rebuilt the engine and added a headstock-mounted oil-cooler, Dynatec programmable ignition system, period Mikuni 33mm Smoothbore carburettors and a Vance & Hines exhaust system which he plans to modify to replicate the original megaphone design. The bike has a minimal wiring loom which Steve made himself. The engine was painted in two-pack satin black.
Chassis, suspension & bodywork
Steve’s research identified that the frame should be modified with extra bracing and gussets behind the engine mounts.
The wheels, brakes and box-section swing-arm are from a 1998 Honda Fireblade RR-W, the swing-arm having undergone some serious surgery to convert it to a twin-shock design.
The front suspension (forks and yokes) were donated by a 1997 Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace and were coupled with the original Honda CB750F stem. Steve had to fashion bespoke handlebar clamps as the YZF top yoke has no handlebar provision.
The brake and gear levers were CNC-milled by a mate but Steve machined the toe-pegs, footrests, gear and brake linkages, and spacers for the wheels and swing-arm himself.
During the build, Steve was working as a college lecturer and all of the painting, including the engine, was done by one of Steve’s students for use in their course portfolio (a body of work used to assess their ability).
The instruments are original Honda CB750F but the speedometer has been replaced by an oil pressure gauge (see picture below).
For the specialist tasks undertaken during this project, Steve made good use of a Clark model maker’s lathe and a MIG welder.
Steve takes the bike to classic events all year round and at Donington Park in August 2015 he was lucky enough to meet Freddie Spencer who autographed the bike’s tank for him.
What are you waiting for?
If you would like to see the fruits of your labours on this site, submit your details and we’ll be in touch.
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